12 Australian slang expressions to sound like a local

There’s nothing like the land down under. Golden beaches, surfers in search of the perfect wave, kangaroos, coffee shops and that irresistible Australian accent… the Aussie lifestyle is pretty perfect. If you’re headed here to work on your English skills, make sure to also study the local lingo. Check out our round up of 12 great Australian slang expressions so you can blend right in with the locals!

 

Arvo

This cute little word is actually just slang for “afternoon”. You might use it like, “Are you up for a movie after class this arvo?”

 

Thongs

 

If you spend any time at all in Australia, you’re more than likely to be at the beach at some point, which is why you’ll need your thongs! Completely different from their British and American meaning (a racy type of underwear), “thongs” in Australia simply refer to flip-flops.

 

Dunny

You don’t want to be left with a confused look on your face when some asks you where the dunny is. One of the most important words to know, this is simply the word for toilet!

 

Root

In every language, there are a few innocent sounding words that you have to look out for because of their slang meanings. In Australian English, root is slang for sexual intercourse, so be careful of how you use it!

 

Barbie

 

Nope, they’re not talking about the doll! If you get invited to a barbie, make sure to bring your appetite, as you’re being asked to attend a barbecue. This is just one of the Australian slang expressions that shows how Aussies love to shorten words (brekky=breakfast, sunnies=sunglasses, mozzie=mosquito, etc.).

 

Ripper

Chances are, you’ll be using this word a lot. Meaning awesome or fantastic, if something is “bloody ripper” it must be totally amazing!

 

Stubby

Want to grab a drink with your classmates after school? Ask them if they want to head to the bar for a couple of stubbies (cans of beer).

 

Chuck a sickie

Is it the world’s best beach day but you’ve got class or work? If your boss or teacher catches you lying out on the beach, they’ll know you were chucking a sickie (calling in sick when you were actually fine).

 

A face like a dropped pie

This may not be the kindest expression, but it’s good to know what it means if you overhear it in a conversation! This colourful expression is used to refer to someone who is ugly.

 

She’ll be right

Nope, this expression doesn’t mean that women are always right, but rather that everything will be okay in the end. It might be used in the combination, “No worries, mate, she’ll be right.” Australia and worries definitely don’t mix!

 

A dog’s breakfast

Imagine the stereotypical student apartment: papers everywhere, dirty dishes piled up in the sink, laundry overflowing, mystery smell… that apartment is a mess, or a dog’s (or mad woman’s) breakfast! The expression can also be used to describe a messy situation.

 

Mate

 

This one is impossible to leave off the list. If you’ve made a mate in Australia, you’ve made a friend for life.

 

Want to learn these Australian slang expressions and more? Now is the perfect time for an English language course or a gap year in the land down under!

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